I don’t like people calling me. No. I really don’t like people calling me. No one has my number. The list of people who have my number is so short that I can list it in order: my secretary, Carmine Falcone, Oswald Cobblepot, and Hugo Strange. When my phone starts ringing and the number isn’t one of those four I get upset.
The unlucky soul calling me had the fortunate distinction of being a man I actually once wanted to talk to. He introduced himself as Jackson Singletary. It took me a moment to place him, but then it came back to me. He was the cop who survived Joker Venom. I remember trying to contact him not long after he survived. Imagine my surprise when he proceeded to ask for my help and then send me the antidote to Joker Venom.
Two thoughts crossed my mind. One, if I could use this formula as a basis for a cure for Joker Venom, I would never have to worry about funding ever again. Two, there was no way that Mr. Singletary just stumbled upon this. He said that a friend had given it to him. I only know of one game in town giving out magic boxes to special people, and that is the League. But who is Singletary. I had hunch now but only a hunch.
The rest of my day was spent in my private lab on Sub-Level 2 preparing lab space for production of the Joker Venom Antidote. My plans for the evening changed however when I received another letter from the League.
I wasn’t hugely surprised to find that all the other major players on Gotham’s vigilante stage appeared. I was annoyed to find that al Ghul has sent his lieutenant to deal with us. I pushed her just to see how she would respond. Her arrogance wouldn’t let her acknowledge my quip. A supremely dangerous foe.
The conversation that resulted from the meeting was much as I expected, fruitless. Black Mask and Falcone need removed. Ra’s lieutenant counseled us to leave Falcone. I could see Son of None itching to disagree. I did for him. I gave my alternative, put me in their place. Sleeper objected, as I knew he would. Though I had four of them on my side when we left, I know he will turn their heads, and it will come down to me to do what must be done.
That is the problem with my companions. They are in their own ways idealistic. With the exception of possibly Delta (who I don’t trust as he is a mercenary), all of them believe on some level that Gotham can be rid of crime. They think that my suggestion is just a cheap grab for power. Short sighted fools. I am simply trying to fill a role left by the Batman. For all his merits he was the king of Gotham’s underworld. The fear of him kept the rest of the underworld in line. Someone who doesn’t want or need the power must take up that mantle and keep the mob from descending into chaos.
I have all the money and power I could need with the Foundation at my beck and call. I need alleys. We all need a force of fear keeping the mob in line. An individual who can move all the pieces into place and keep any one mob boss from having too much power. Of the group, I’m the only one who meets those criteria. I am going to have to give them a reason to trust me, or if nothing else give them a weapon to use against me.
These where the thoughts on my mind as I sat in my office and discovered a new icon on my desktop. I almost deleted it. Part of me wishes I had. The Oracle was on the other end and he has put me in a very difficult position. I now know what he needed. He needed a doctor to examine Batman’s—Bruce Wayne’s—body. It would seem Bane had help. The catch however for all of the information and power Mr. Kyle could give me is that I’m not to kill anyone.
Now, as a medical professional I would like to point out how extremely cruel this is to the the thugs of Gotham. Killing them puts out of their misery. The men and women my fellow vigilantes leave behind, particularly Brimstone, will likely spend the rest of their lives eating from feeding tubes. But if Oracle wants to add to my cruelty, then so be it. I’ll play his game for now.
Oracle’s hint lead me to the old Ace Chemical’s plant. I must admit I may have been a little impatient with the workers there. I don’t make it a habit to let my real face be shown in connection with my public persona. In the end the fact the Victor saw this little trick may have saved me time. He was unsurprisingly cold and mostly unhelpful. He did however suggest I speak with his head of security, Jackson Singletary.
I picked up Mr. Singletary in Grant. I told him that I may be able to help him, but I needed to know what Freeze was up to. Imagine my shock when he informed me that Victor intended to cryogenicly freeze Gotham’s problems. The solution to my new No Killing rule had just presented itself.
Something came up however. Singletary laughed as he told me of a special cryo-tube made for the Joker. I knew that laugh. I had heard it come from behind a white mask not a few nights before. I drove to Sixth and Trident and took us into my sanctum and confronted him. Let us say that the Jape and I now have an understanding.
Something Goes Wrong
Something has gone horrible wrong or horribly right. I have to determine which. On the one hand the possible uses for Clayface DNA have increased one-hundred fold. On the other, the Proteus—the Master Proteus from which all the Foundation’s units are based—is destroyed. I can easily continue production of protoplasm on the floors above, the issue is the cause of the Proteus’s destruction.
The Proteus was designed to only spray an individual with protoplasm. My clients tend to think that the entire tank will fill with the stuff. This isn’t the case. Even with the most extreme case I have ever treated with it, that being myself, it simply coats an individual with protoplasm. The tank wasn’t designed to be filled.
I stepped into the unit like usual and waited for the spray to begin. This time however the nozzles burst and the tank began to fill. Even as I tried to pry open the doors I enjoyed the irony of my lifesaving technology trying to kill me. A year ago this would have not been a problem. A year ago an emergency stop handle existed in all of the units. Clients however tended to pull the lever as soon as the process started, so I had them removed from all them, including my own so that it wouldn’t stand out.
As quickly as the tank was filling I knew I would maybe have four minutes of air once the tank filled. Four minutes is not the long when you are being smothered by liquid flesh. I fought against it as long as I could but my natural reaction finally took over. Reflexively my mouth opened and drew protoplasm into my lungs. Darkness took me.
An unknown time later I woke up naked and fleshed on my lab floor. I could, can, feel the protoplasm worming its way into me, establishing deeper connections with my system. It feels like worms eating their way through mud. After testing Clayface’s DNA I had no more left than a thumb’s worth. With that I managed to gain a connection between the protoplasm and the users nervous system. In my case this allowed for control of my facial features.
This, this is something more. Much more even than my theory of possible limb regrowth. I removed a small patch from the back of my hand to do a biopsy on. It grew back in minutes, welling up as grey slime from my exposed muscle tissue. The tests have confirmed what I suspected. Not only is the DNA of the three Clayface’s present, but also my own. Whatever this new batch of protoplasm is, it is bonding with my system and that was with just a thumb’s worth. I can hardly comprehend what will be possible once I draw Cassius out of hiding.